When a child can’t express their feelings, this is where a parent can maybe step in and help (but tread lightly).
While we can help them identify and express an uncomfortable feeling, we can not
deal with that feeling for them.
The worst thing I can think of probably bringing shame into the equation.
“Why would you be sad about that? No kid of mine is going to cry over this. Why can’t you be happy about all the good things you have?”
It’s a silly thing to point out, but the Pixar movie Inside Out captured this idea perfectly.
Joy refuses to let Bing-Bong be sad. But when Sadness comes along with empathy and understanding, healing can finally begin.
When a child can’t express their feelings, they need you to have sympathy, patience, and grace.
I think we discount the virtue in being with each other in difficult times.
Understand: Drawing helps too.
The more you try to push a child’s unhappy feelings away, the more he becomes stuck in them. The more comfortably you can accept the bad feelings, the easier it is for kids to let go of them. I guess you could say that if you want to have a happy family you’d better be prepared to permit the expression of a lot of unhappiness.
-Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk (Amazon)